College Drinking Rules Serve Up Mixed Results

Survey finds Massachusetts crackdown on 11 campuses was all over the map

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 1, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A 1997 Massachusetts crackdown on underage college and university drinking has served up mixed results.

A study in the October issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol found the restrictions at 11 state public colleges and universities resulted in widely varying rates of heavy drinking among students at the schools. The study also found uneven enforcement of the alcohol rules by campus security officers.

Researchers at the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at the Children's Hospital of Boston and Harvard University surveyed more than 1,200 students and 21 deans of students and campus security chiefs in 1999.

Less than 20 percent of the students reported that they'd been asked to show identification at fraternity or sorority parties. About 25 percent of the students reported having their rooms or personal belongings searched for alcohol.

The measures enacted in 1997 include: restricting alcohol to specific, supervised locations; requiring advance registration of all social events involving alcohol; restricting legal possession of alcohol to separate residence halls for students 21 and older; new sanctions against student offenders; and parental notification of all alcohol policy violations by underage students.

Less than a quarter of the students surveyed said the alcohol policy at their school was strongly enforced, 41 percent said it was enforced, and about 20 percent said it was weakly enforced or not at all enforced.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about college students and drinking.

SOURCE: Journal of Studies on Alcohol, news release, Oct. 1, 2003

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